Florida Lottery Investigates Suspicious Claims
News report leads to sales suspensions at seven convenience stores
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Records obtained by the investigative team of WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla., show some people are winning $1,000 or more repeatedly in the Florida Lottery. Of the Tampa Bay area's top 10 winners of scratch-off games, nine had something in common, said the report. They were all affiliated with retail stores that sell lottery tickets.
Pinellas County convenience store owner Chirag Parmar once claimed five $1,000 prizes in one day, and his mother once claimed 12 wins in a day, , the report said. Together, they claimed 47 prizes of $1,000 or more in just three years.
The odds of winning $1,000 in a scratch-off game are about 1 in 2,000, according to the news outlet.
In a statement obtained by CSP Daily News, the Florida Lottery said, "Maintaining the integrity of our games and the trust of our players is essential for the Florida Lottery. Recent research and analysis of lottery ticket sales and redemptions have prompted additional investigations into retailer establishments around the state. Those investigations have revealed suspicious ticket purchases and claims among some of our retailers. As a result, we have taken action by suspending lottery sales at [seven] independently owned retail locations."
The stores included Rainbow Food Mart, Pinellas Park; Park Street Gas Kwick, St. Petersburg; 49 St. Mobil, St. Petersburg; Central Avenue Exxon, St. Petersburg; Clearwater Sunoco, Clearwater; Mini Market, Seminole; and Bryan Dairy Rally, Largo.
The statement added, "These seven establishments are either owned or partially owned by Chirag Parmar. In addition to these suspensions, the lottery is implementing further standards to ensure we effectively balance player protection with our retailers' rights to legally play lottery games. We also will be introducing a player protection awareness campaign in the coming weeks, as well as continuing to monitor and address irregularities.
The Florida Lottery recommends players sign their tickets immediately upon purchase, before leaving the store. This will help protect against anyone else redeeming their tickets."